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Jessica Jones: Living by Faith

Firm: Edward Jones

City: The Woodlands, Texas

Age: 36

Years as a rep: 11

Years with current firm: 11

AUM: $126 million

Product mix: stocks, 1%; insurance, 5%; managed accounts, 94%

Specialty: Comprehensive financial services

Designations, licenses: CFP, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, Series 7, 63, 66, insurance

Jessica Jones had just given birth to her second child in 2009 when she jumped on a plan to fly to Guatemala City. Candida, the girl she sponsors through orphanage Casa Para Niños Aleluya, was graduating from high school, and she felt she had to be there. Growing up in Guatemala, Candida had no mother; her father would discipline her by forcing her to drink Clorox, and her uncle also abused her. She ran away at the age of 6, and ended up at Casa Para Niños Aleluya in Guatemala City, a children's home run by two American missionaries. But when she received her diploma in 2009, she expected to see no family or friends in the audience.

“I knew that I had to show that I loved her,” Jones says. “Kids spell love by the word ‘time.’ They spell it t-i-m-e.”

Candida's now 22 years old, engaged and attending seminary.

Jones, no relation to Ed Jones, first heard about Casa Para Niños Aleluya in 2005 through a bible study at her church. Since then, she has made eight trips to Guatemala City. After her first trip, she decided to start writing checks to pay for these kids' college education. The first year, she and her husband funded 10, four-year college scholarships. Now, they fund 100 of these scholarships a year. She also set up a charitable trust — a $5 million life insurance policy — so if she were to die, these educational costs would continue to come out of the trust. Jones and her husband give about 30 percent of their gross income a year to fund college scholarships and educational costs at Casa and to their church.

The main inspiration behind her desire to give back has been her Christian faith, Jones says.

“There is one question in the book ‘The Hole in the Gospel,’ ‘What if there are children that will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?’

“That is the question that I keep thinking about,” Jones says. “I want to give a gift that can be used to change a life, to transform a life and I believe an education is that gift.”

In addition to the scholarships, Jones sponsors three girls at Casa — Candida, Marlin and Celia. Marlin, 21, is now a third-year medical student, and Celia, 27, just graduated from nursing school.

Each Casa child has three sponsors, each of which makes a minimal financial commitment of $35 a month to pay for their food and everyday expenses. But sponsoring is more than financial; Jones says it involves mentoring them, praying for them, sending cards and birthday gifts, and of course, visiting them in Guatemala.

The sponsorship does not cover education, however, which is why Jones launched the scholarships. Her goal is to eventually pay for all of their education — from elementary school through college.

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